Conroe moms find community as they cook together

Alencia Washington (left) and Kierra Monroe participate in a weekly cooking and nutrition class. (Buckner Photo)

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CONROE—Families at Buckner Family Pathways in Conroe shared a table and classroom and learned to cook with healthy nutrition in mind. 

The class is part of a weekly nutrition-education program taught by the local Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

conroe cooking 250Alencia Washington enjoys learning how to cook nutritious meals, and she appreciates spending time with other moms in situations similar to hers. (Buckner Photo)“It’s perfect,” said Pathways participant Alencia Washington. “I get out of school Friday afternoon and come right in. I enjoy learning new things. The class is a good way to learn cooking with other moms and get to know one another.”

Washington and her daughter, Kimber, 3, have attended the weekly classes throughout the summer. They like to bake together on Saturdays.

“There is such joy ‘learning in real time,’ when children join their parents in the kitchen and at the table,” Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Assistant Michele Scaife said. “It’s so good to be a part of the encouragement and positive interaction between these wonderful families.”

Better Living for Texans is a statewide nutrition-education program for adults and children who want to learn how to eat well and save money. 

Regional groups related to the Texas Hunger Initiative at Baylor University, such as the Dallas Coalition for Hunger Solutions, have encouraged churches to work with the program to improve nutrition among low-income families. 

“These classes cover how to choose foods that are inexpensive and good to eat, make food dollars last longer and help children choose healthy snacks,” Scaife said. “Our program focuses on audiences in lower-income communities to help improve food security, diet quality, nutrition knowledge and food-safety skills.”

Buckner Family Pathways has operated in Conroe since 2010, providing single-parent families an opportunity to live in a safe and secure environment.  While completing educational and vocational goals, families develop skills for self-sufficient, healthy households. 

“I’m a family-oriented person,” Washington said. “I really love how this has become a chance to share that with other moms. It feels like a family dinner table. Even if you didn’t grow up with that experience, you get it here.”

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